Exchanges win dismissal of market-data pricing rule case

NYSE Euronext, Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. and other exchanges can set prices for proprietary market data, a U.S. appeals court ruled, saying the Dodd-Frank financial reform law limits its right to review Securities and Exchange Commission decisions on the issue.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington rejected arguments by NetCoalition, a group of Internet companies, and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association that the court still had authority to step in when the SEC accepted the rates the exchanges set for their data.

Under Dodd-Frank “the language is ‘not ambiguous in any sense relevant here; and this court simply is not at liberty to displace, or improve upon, the jurisdictional choices of Congress,” U.S. Circuit Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson said, writing for a three-judge panel.

The coalition and Sifma had sought court review, contending that the exchanges were charging too much for the market data their members purchased. They argued that the SEC failed to properly investigate the exchange-set pricing and that the court should order the agency to reject it.

Bloomberg LP is a member of the NetCoalition.

“We’re gratified by the court’s decision and we will continue to provide our customers with high-quality data at reasonable rates in this competitive market,” Joseph Christinat, a spokesman for Nasdaq OMX, said by phone.

Decision Welcome

“We welcome the court’s decision,” NYSE Euronext spokesman Richard Adamonis said by phone.

NetCoalition will continue to fight the exchanges’ fees, its attorney, Roger Blanc, of Wilkie, Farr & Gallagher LP, said.

“This a procedural decision, not a decision on the merits,” Blanc said in a phone interview. “They’re basically charging monopoly rents for market data and those charges are paid by investors.”

The case is NetCoalition v. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 10-1421, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (Washington).

Bloomberg News

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